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I Do! I Do?
Who Wants to Marry a Feminist? by Lisa Miya-Jervis
>What, Me Marry? by Ms. Staffers

A Special Report on the Fertility Industry:
What Price Pregnancy?

Since the birth of the first "test tube baby," assisted reproductive technologies have been hailed as medical miracles. Ms. goes behind the hype. >by Ann Pappert


- Both Sides Now:
She married at 18 and instead of finding bliss, she became a shrinking woman. Now, at 54, marriage is on her mind again.
- Marriage Vegas Style
In this desert empire 295 couples marry every day.
-Who Wants to Marry a Feminist?
But the real question is why do feminists want marriage?
-Otherwise Engaged
The issue of same-sex marriage has sparked an impassioned debate. Asked if she would marry if she could, this author takes a long hard look at the institution and herself.

-What, Me Marry?

-What Price Pregnancy?
Ms. goes behind the hype of assisted reproductive technologies.
When it comes to fertility treatments, gender makes all the difference.

Her immediate family fled Germany before being swept up in the Holocaust, but they forever mourned the loved ones who didn't survive and the life they'd once shared.

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-The Struggle to Preserve Reproductive Rights
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- Taxing Menstruation
- High Anxiety

- Austria Ditches Women's Ministry
- Opinion: Partial-Truth Abortion
- $5 and a Dream
- Czech Mate
- Newsmaker: Lisa Oberg
- Women Organizing Worldwide: Reports from Philippines, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and the Internet

- A Newscaster, a Mother, and a Steelworker Talk About Their Gigs
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- Debunking the Book That Claims Rape COmes Naturally
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Nobody was more surprised than me when, once, I considered tying the noose, uh, knot. I'd fallen harder than ever before, and mistook the intensity for love. Despite years of protesting the practice, I'd even planned to change my name. That fleet decision reminded me of those mercurial moments when pregnancy scares left me thinking I could go through with an abortion. It's always the fear of going it alone that gets me backsliding against my ideals.

"You think she got scared?" a friend asked about a 34-year-old newlywed at a party. Her husband had made too many ball-and-chain "jokes," while she hovered within earshot, eyeshot, hollering distance.

Strangely, it was my own falling in love, and the slow falling out, that made me long to get married. To have a love you honor and openly own. To have someone to share the ups and downs with, split the rent and the chores. It's an ideal--like sexual equality, world peace--that I want. Yet the realist in me looks at the black men/black women stats and sees that happily-ever-after couplings are not possible. (And we're just talking numbers. Forget personality and if you can stand the way he chews). Somebody will end up alone, and it's nothing personal if it turns out to be me. That thought doesn't horrify me--most of the time.

Most of the time, I would trade nothing for my independence: my own apartment; no-strings romance; the freedom to somersault into an abyss of risks and come up smelling like roses, or not, but no harm done to anyone except me. Most of the time, I'm aware that my bouts of loneliness are easier to bear than the misery I've felt in bad relationships. But often enough, I'm shaken by the men who tell me that, ratios being what they are, black women will have to settle for whoever comes knocking. Or the ones who push polygamy as the "African" solution. These are good guys, supposedly marriage material. I just hope I don't get scared.

Everyone has beliefs that help make life bearable. As one who came to this country from India many years ago, my religion is family. And my ticket to this ultimate security is marriage. Marriage is sacred. It is the opportunity to preserve my values in a country where I've ended up not by choice but in economic exile.

For me--recently engaged to a fellow Indian immigrant--the compulsion to marry is as much about the profound love I have for my future husband as it is about a rejection of my adopted homeland and its so-called values. In the maze of shifting identities in America, marriage to someone from my culture whom I love and respect (and vice versa) is a return home. It is the reminder to myself that not only am I feminist, I am an Indian. And I am an Indian first. I believe that a happy, equitable, and lasting marriage with the right man is the balm I need to stave off the emptiness of the me-first generation. The idea of marriage fills a deep, visceral need I can't bring myself to question or wonder about. It gives me a security I can't deconstruct but that I can't live without. No empowerment programs and no professional accomplishments will ever provide me with this.

It was the generational divide that first got me thinking about marriage. I didn't understand why so many young women in our office said they wanted to marry. The reasons were often unclear but seemed to be a reaction to boomer parents who were at best disenchanted, at worst divorced. We boomers, meanwhile--cynical, skeptical of the state, leery of the patriarchy--were all asking why do something that the state so desperately wants you to do, a state run by men who want to own women, children, and other property? It was the prospect of lesbian and gay marriage that got me thinking in another way. I joined those who supported gay marriage on the basis of equal opportunity. We should all have the same rights to feed into the patriarchy, make fools of ourselves, whatever. Later, I shifted yet again. Quite simply, I fell in love. With a woman 20 years my junior who--guess what--wants to MARRY! What's a cynical, lovesick boomer supposed to do? Annie's reasons, it turns out, have mostly to do with public recognition--the desire for friends, family, and the state both to acknowledge and accept our partnership. And also with wanting me to be her legal decision-maker if she can't make decisions for herself. Her generation seems to have little truck with that heady mix of subversive politics and illicit lifestyles that was such a turn-on for us. Her radical acts come from the impulse to mainstream change. Would I do it? In a heartbeat.

Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009